Leaf ’em alone

Keep those valuable nutrients on your own property 

A leaf layer…

  1. Fall Leaves 2Creates an ecosystem where many insects & animals will find warmth, shelter and winter food. Check out these Freezable Frogs who rely
    on a leaf layer for winter survival.
  2. Reduces the use of fossil fuels to transport leaves to an off-site composter.
  3. Reduces the cost of purchasing them back next season as finished leaf compost.
  4. Prevents organic matter from entering the landfill, where it produces dangerous gases as it breaks down.
  5. Use shredded leaves as fall mulch.

Learn how here…

Leave ’em for the Latecomers

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird migration is prompted by hormones, not weather. Go ahead and leave those feeders up as a nectar source for the stragglers coming from the north. Especially since flower sources begin to dwindle during the fall season in most home gardens.

For more fun facts, check out this entertaining and informative video, below. Or, click on this How to Attract Hummingbirds to your Garden link.

#HappyGardening!

Not long now…

Successful Design with Nature in Mind

2017 MCMG Spring Gardening Conference
Presented by the Montgomery County Master Gardeners

I am please to announce our 17th Annual MCMG Spring Conference. Please join me and my fellow MCMG volunteers on Saturday, February 25, 2017*
at The University of Maryland Extension Montgomery County Office, 18410 Muncaster Rd., Derwood, MD. *Snow date – March 4, 2017 (In case of inclement weather, we follow Montgomery County Public Schools’ Weekend Activity Policy.)

The event is $55 per person or $50 each for groups of two or more and includes lunch, light breakfast and coffee/tea.

You will get to choose 3 of the follow 9 inspiring presentations. One for each of three sessions. Don’t be left in the cold, join us for some heart-warming garden tips, tricks and timely topics.

Schedule of Events
Registration & Refreshments (8:30 – 9:00)
Welcome & Opening Remarks (9:00 – 9:15)

Session I (9:25 – 10:30)

  1. Beekeeping 101 – Marie Rojas.  We’ll explore the first full year of beekeeping; including honey bee races, types of hives and where to locate them, protective clothing, tools, as well as bee-friendly plants and resources.  Taste test a variety of honey samples, including Marie’s blue-ribbon local honey!
  2. Vegetable Gardening When Mother Nature Doesn’t Cooperate – Erica Smith.  Cold, heat, rain, drought, roller-coaster temperature changes and global weirding.  Find out how to keep your vegetable plants healthy and producing well despite weather challenges.

  3. A Design On Time – Timely Tips for a Timeless Garden:  What to do, When to do it, and Why – Eric Wenger.  Come along for an informative monthly planning tour from January to December.  We’ll explore the creative planning process, the sourcing of the best plant material and amendments and when you should be planting, pruning or just enjoying your garden!

Session II (10:40 – 11:45)

  1. Eat, Prey, Love – Herbs for Pollinators – Pat Kenny and Heather Whirley.  We know pollinators are essential members of our network of living things. Come see what pollinators can be found in our own backyards and how we can attract them by growing more of the herbs they love.
  2. Successful Plant Selection: Sustainability for Small Gardens – Steve Dubik.  Smart plant selection is the single most effective way to create a successful, low-maintenance, high-enjoyment garden for small areas.  We’ll be highlighting those plants that are not only compact in size, but also desirable for their sustainability and support to our native wildlife.
  3. Easy, Tasty, Small Fruits – Terri Valenti.   Interested in growing small fruits?  Come learn how to successfully cultivate blueberries, hardy kiwi, and hardy passion-fruit.

Lunch (12:00 – 1:00)  Informal Lunch & Learn session, open to all.

Session III  (1:00 – 2:05)

  1. A Shade of Difference – Joy Adler.  Find out what and how to plant in shady spaces. We’ll cover a variety of different situations, including dry shade, and how to maximize light for the better plant growth.
  2. Garden Anywhere: Growing Edibles and Ornamentals in Containers – Dara Barrow-Giffen. You can pretty much garden anywhere with container gardens!  Add visual interest to an existing garden or bring a garden to your driveway or patio.

  3. Designing a Certified Wildlife Habitat – Susan Bell.  Take your garden to the next level by turning your property into an inviting haven for local wildlife.  Adding food, water, shelter and nesting sites will attract ‘the birds and the bees’ along with other critters necessary to create a diverse and healthy environment.  Link provided to the National Wildlife Federation for certification of your habitat.

Wrap-up (2:15 – 2:30)
Open question & answer forum with presenters. Last of the fabulous door prizes will be awarded.

Click here to register:  http://mcmgconference.eventbrite.com
Any additional questions, pease email: mcmgconference@gmail.com

Please share this information with your friends, family neighbors, clubs, groups and organizations. Anyone who loves learning and growing in the garden.

Space is limited.

Our Growing Family

Mother's Day 2016 (14)How we created an Edible Garden together

Every Mother’s Day, I ask for the same thing; to spend the day together in the garden. This year, we created an Edible Garden,
complete with herbs, vegetables and edible flowers.          Here is our story…

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Bluebird on CWF Sign 4-2016A Wildlife Habitat continues to attract new faces, year after year.

Since certifying our yard as a Wildlife Habitat in 2009, we have seen many species of local wildlife including birds, amphibians, mammals & insects. As we care for and enjoy our habitat year after year, we are pleasantly rewarded with an increased variety of visitors.

Lately, we have been especially surprised by several new feathered faces. Not only are we currently being visited by Eastern Bluebirds for the first time, but today, we also saw our first ever
Black-Throated Blue Warbler (below). What a wonderful treat!
Black-Throated Blue Warbler, How to attract birds to your garden, backyard habitat
Watch the video below, as an Indigo Bunting enjoys a water course that was added to the pond last spring.

These shallow waters are perfect
for drinking, bathing and preening
all-year long.

Maintaining a wildlife habitat in your backyard has long-lasting benefits. Being engaged with nature can improve your mood and your health, as well as provide entertainment & education for your whole family. The longer you maintain your habitat, the more species you will have the pleasure of seeing & learning about.

Who is visiting your backyard habitat this Spring?

Happy Gardening!

 

Spring is here!

NWF Nestlings CoverRoll out the Welcome Mat
The Nesting Season is upon us. Here’s how you can help our native birds and their broods.

  • Provide nesting boxes, trees, thickets and/or dense brush.
  • Nesting birds need extra protein, for themselves and their young. Offer a variety of nuts and seeds in your feeders. 96% of birds rely on insects to feed their young. Maintain a healthy garden with a variety of insects. Avoid herbicides and pesticides.
  • Fresh water is essential for birds. This can be provided by a bird bath, fountain or pond. Remember, birds need a shallow place to sit in the water so that they can drink, wash and preen their feathers safely. Hummingbirds will not enter water that is greater than 1/4″ deep.

Tells us in the comments, What elements do you or will you provide for our native birds this nesting season?

Happy Spring!

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

DSC00671Roses are Red
These Birds are Blue
So Happy to Start
This Day with You!

I hope you are having a lovely Valentine’s Day morning. My husband and I got up early this morning to enjoy a cup of coffee together before making a special Valentine’s Day breakfast for our teenage daughters.

As we woke slowly, we noticed some new friends at the feeder. Their unmistakable colors gave them away. I quickly grabbed my camera while my husband enjoyed watching these Easter Bluebirds eating from our feeders and drinking from the backyard pond.

They stayed for several hours. When the kids got up, we all enjoyed watching these symbols of happiness while we ate our special holiday breakfast. Complete with heart-shaped pancakes. We enjoyed their visit immensely. It reminded us of all the fun we had monitoring a Bluebird Trail last summer. A very warm thought on this very cold day.

These are the times when our family is rewarded for keeping our feeders filled and for providingDSC00696 fresh, unfrozen water during the winter. These items are vital to our overwintering birds and wildlife. Luckily for the Bluebirds, meal worms were on the menu. A staple in their diet.

I like how this guy is eyeing the frog, as if it might jump in and join him for a drink.

DSC00700This little lady seems to be multi-tasking by bathing and drinking at the same time. Two birds, one stone.

We do not normally see Eastern Bluebirds in our backyard habitat for more than a fly-by, but today they came and spent all morning, delighting us all with their presence.

What a perfect gift of happiness on a day dedicated to love.

Happy Valentine’s Day, my Soulful Friends!

It won’t be long now…

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a…

The Hummingbird MothHummingbird?
Check out this case of
mistaken identity in the garden.